Clearwire's 'Jazzed' About Results
Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR)'s management team was downright chipper today on the full-year earnings call, as the mobile WiMax operator posted its highest-ever quarterly subscriber gain of 87,000 new retail customers in the fourth quarter of 2009.
At the end of 2009, Clearwire's customer base grew nearly 45 percent year-on-year to 688,000, which includes 642,000 retail subscribers and 46,000 wholesale subscribers from partners Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). (See Let's Play 'Count the Subscribers', Time Warner Cable Hits WiMax Accelerator, Comcast Maxes Out in Portland, and Sprint Reportedly Planning New WiMax Devices.)
Clearwire's full-year 2009 revenues were up 19 percent to $274 million, compared with last year.
In the fourth quarter, the company posted a loss of $98.7 million, or $0.55 per share, on revenues of $80 million, which compares with a loss of $90 million, or $0.46 per share, on revenues of $60 million in the same period last year.
The results certainly excited Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow today: "The management team is jazzed," said Morrow. "We're motivated and pumped up."
Morrow, who described 2009 as "monumental" in terms of the operator's network rollout and customer growth, said that the company had enough funding to achieve its network buildout goal of covering 120 million people by the end of this year. Morrow claimed that the company's aggressive buildout plan this year would "break records that will surpass anything achieved in the US." (See Clearwire's $1.5B Top-Up Confirmed , Clearwire Grabs $920M More Funds, and Clearwire Shoots for Another $361M .)
The operator ended 2009 with 5,000 "towers on air," and it says that at the end of 2010 and into 2011, it will have a total of 20,000 towers to meet the population coverage plans.
Morrow also noted that the company wants to sign up more wholesale customers and sees this area as a big source of growth.
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile